Steve W
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I'm not big on bringing family drama to the interwebs, but I'm pretty open about the rest of my life so why the hell not. I could really use an outlet and some feedback, even if it's counter to my current thought process. I'm a little short on friendly ears at the moment...

Super brief rundown: Found out I was adopted when I was 18 (notice I didn't say I was told), confronted parents (actually grandparents all along) about it and was kicked out of the house, few years of being mad at everything, standard identity crisis, failed marriage, reconnecting with family, trying to build an awkward relationship with birth-mother (I was raised thinking she was my aunt), amazing realization that I have 2 half-sisters that I'm working on making up for so much lost time with (was at both of their weddings, love them dearly), current situation as follows...

My birth-mother, who always lived out of state, recently moved to our state to spend some time near her ailing parents (my grandparents, but the ones who adopted me and raised me and essentially my parents) as well as her other 3 sisters. Local family (some) decides to be non-inclusive and deliberately hosts big family events without inviting my birth-mother, their sister. They also don't mention that they are only inviting certain family members, so I feel bamboozled into being dragged into their drama. I'm resentful, and explain very calmly but firmly these 2 things:

A) I expect more from our family. I expect them to get over petty grudges and try to enjoy the time we have together. I tell them that if they truly have an issue with another family member, they shouldn't volunteer to host holiday events at their place and instead leave it up to truly neutral family members to host events where everyone can be invited. I tell them that if they insist on hosting events where everyone isn't invited, to leave me off their invite list because I want no part in all of it.

B) I explain to them that THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT THE PERSON BEING EXCLUDED IS MY BIRTH-MOTHER. Naturally, nobody can see that. Nobody believes that. Nobody can get their heads out of their arses long enough to see the bigger picture. I explain that this stance I'm taking is all-inclusive. I'd be doing this for any family member being excluded. I'm just tired of this behavior from the people I'm related to.

I'm 34, happily re-married, and have 2 very young children that have changed my outlook on life. I am their protector. I am the one that gets to decide what kind of influences they have in their life. Currently, my family isn't a good example of behavior I find acceptable. Unfortunately, due to hereditary stubbornness, my family's behavior will not be changing, which means my clan won't be seeing them much as long as I stick to my principles. Luckily, my in-laws are all amazing, like stupid-good amazing, so we still get plenty of quality family time and even cousins for my kiddos to run around with.

Some notes:
Despite 90% of us living in the same city, my family has never been the type to just hand out all together. We really only get together for major holidays.
I didn't mention any reasons for the drama between family because I don't really care at this point. I've helped one aunt move out of her home because the husband cheated on her. Another aunt remains married to a convicted pedophile. Yet another is married to a total POS. The what and why isn't what's important here, not to me. I don't care.
I got invited to Thanksgiving and then uninvited yesterday because I'm sticking to my guns. Amazing what a simple "Everyone invited?" response text can stir up.
This family has excluded people before, I have been on both sides of it. Some reasons, see above line, were legitimate, some were petty. I'm trying to be a better example for my kids, so I'm taking a hard no-nonsense stance now and going forward.

My loving wife is very supportive of my decision here, but she can see it's taking its toll on me. I don't open up much, but I feel like there's a genuine possibility that we won't spend another holiday with the family unless something changes. I'm pretty confident that I'm right in this situation, but the ramifications of that decision are pretty depressing.

I realize I just provided basic details, but I think they were enough to get my point across. My question to all of you is this; what do you think of the situation? Any advice? Any similar situations? How did they work out? Any regrets? Insight? Support? Criticisms? Whatcha got guys?
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Lazy Mountain

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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
In a relationship triangle, each point has control of its relationship with the other points, but no control over the relationship between other points.

You don't want to bring your family into an exclusive situation, that's fine, don't. You can share your family clan life with your bio family however you and they choose. Stay in touch, let them see what they're missing excluding others, but don't use your family as a threat or bargaining chip.

Honestly, I'd consider professional counseling, family dynamics are a challenge, and you have unique circumstances and history on top.
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Warren Fitzpatrick
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
The only question that popped into my mind was "why exclude her?"

It's certainly not my business, but it does weigh on the separation.

If it's something silly, petty, etc., they need to grow up and you need to stick to your guns until they do. If she's just irritating (a gossip, liar, manipulator, etc.), then it's easy enough to keep your distance, or at least it is in my family gatherings. Then again, the side of the family that has actual gatherings consists of 9 brothers and sisters so we got plenty of other people to occupy our time.

If it's something serious, that's a different animal entirely. A family that attends my church has a grandfather that molested his grandchildren (and children). They have zero contact and it's a huge problem for all involved. Similarly, if your mom's gotten physically assaultive (or threatening), I'd put that in the same boat until some safety perimeters have been established and respected, and even then I'd personally be wary.

I just had a family reunion last weekend. It was a nice get together. Some missed it because of issues w/ my aunt - the family matriarch (she's a no-nonsense type who speaks her mind). Sad thing is, they didn't have to ignore all of us because of the issue with the one, even one as influential in the family as my aunt.

On a completely unrelated note, I learned a good deal of my family history including an ancestor who fought in the Cavalry in the American Revolution. I'd never realized we had anyone so involved. And Jenny Wiley (you can google her) wasn't a direct descendant, but her sister was. Pretty cool.

Hope your situation works out pretty cool as well.

wf
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Andy Andersen
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
You can pick your nose, you can't pick your family.

I applaud you for sticking to your principles. It may be hard, but you owe it to your immediate family to not get caught up anymore in silly feuds.

Best of luck to you and your family.
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
Heh, family. They're the worst.
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Jordan Ackerman
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
I think you have a great sense of what family should be about and I applaud you for sticking to your guns when the going gets tough.

In my experience, sometimes it isn't healthy to have every family member in the same place at the same time.

Your moral instincts sound correct, but in practice you may need to make some concessions in order to bolster family social progress. Maybe find out who isn't invited and why and then make an effort to have another event outside of the holidays where everyone is invited, or even some kind of way to bridge the gap between the people who are in conflict.

Being the lynch pin of a family is a big responsibility. Perhaps the members of your family who are hosting aren't willing or able to be that and maybe you will need to step into that role in the future if you really want your entire family to gather around together during holidays despite all of your differences.
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Shaun Morris
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
I think what you're doing is neither right nor wrong. I think your heart is in the right place but your actions aren't going to achieve what you hope.

You contend that you don't want to be involved in their drama and so are excluding yourself in order to avoid that drama. The thing is, by doing so you are involving yourself in the drama. Unless there are multiple parties being hosted and you're being forced to choose which party to attend, then you are not involving yourself in the drama by attending the party. Simply attend the parties being thrown by those excluded as well as those doing the excluding and you'll be making a clear statement that you have no part in their squabbles.

There are however, two caveats that I would add. If you're close to your mom (it's not immediately clear how close you and your mom have become over the years) then you should skip any party where she's not invited as a show of support for your mother. Second, I would not bring my children (if I had any) around any party that had a convicted pedophile in attendance.

The real question though is, how bad do you want to be a part of your family's lives? Is it worth potentially permanently severing ties with at least some of your family over your cause? Because based on what you've told us, that's potentially what's at stake. So you need to ask yourself just how far you're willing to take this. If you aren't prepared to see it through, then there's no sense in taking it further unless you're playing a bluff.

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Steve W
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
I really appreciate everything said so far! I'll try to answer some of the questions.

As much as I was against it, I did actually go to some marriage counselling that ended up being just counselling for me. It truly helped point out some things I'd have never picked up on and some things that I needed to be called out for. I recommend it to anybody willing to give it a fair shot.

As for why excluding "her", I suspect there isn't a good explanation. Some things have been mentioned to me (not returning a phone call while she found out she had breast cancer, bringing her 3 yappy chihuahuas to a family event even though another aunt brings her dog) but I suspect that the bigger issue is how she gave me up for adoption/abandoned me/signed me over to her parents and the other sisters never forgave her for that. Another reason could be that they feel like she's inserting herself back into the family after all those years of being absent. Whatever it is, pretty sure it pales in comparison to a life of deception, cheating, and convicted crimes.

When I host events, everyone is welcome. With the little ones and a crazy schedule, hosting isn't always a possibility for us, but there is at least one aunt that shares my views and offers her place. She's actually planned Thanksgiving: Part II for the following Saturday, but I fear attendance might be low. I'll be there for sure though.

I absolutely will be head of the family when my father/grandfather passes, but it's not something I'm particularly looking forward to currently. Things will change, and I'm sure the whole family won't make it out in one piece, but at least whatever comes from that will be built on a foundation of love, honesty, and mutual respect.
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
morris9597 wrote:
I think what you're doing is neither right nor wrong. I think your heart is in the right place but your actions aren't going to achieve what you hope.

You contend that you don't want to be involved in their drama and so are excluding yourself in order to avoid that drama. The thing is, by doing so you are involving yourself in the drama. Unless there are multiple parties being hosted and you're being forced to choose which party to attend, then you are not involving yourself in the drama by attending the party. Simply attend the parties being thrown by those excluded as well as those doing the excluding and you'll be making a clear statement that you have no part in their squabbles.

There are however, two caveats that I would add. If you're close to your mom (it's not immediately clear how close you and your mom have become over the years) then you should skip any party where she's not invited as a show of support for your mother. Second, I would not bring my children (if I had any) around any party that had a convicted pedophile in attendance.

The real question though is, how bad do you want to be a part of your family's lives? Is it worth potentially permanently severing ties with at least some of your family over your cause? Because based on what you've told us, that's potentially what's at stake. So you need to ask yourself just how far you're willing to take this. If you aren't prepared to see it through, then there's no sense in taking it further unless you're playing a bluff.



The deal is that there is only one party ever thrown for each occasion (typically). I was accused of taking the side of the offender by not going, punishing those that do go, but I see it as the exact opposite. By going, I'm punishing the offender, who did nothing to me, and am allowing the offended to punish me by not allowing me to spend the holidays with my entire family. Why should they get to decide who I see based on their own personal squabbles? So as not to take sides, I remove myself entirely. The unfortunate part is that this case involves my birth-mother, and nobody in the family can see past that. Everyone thinks she's "corrupting" me or stealing me away from the family or riding in like she did nothing wrong after all these years and that her and I have this amazing relationship when things couldn't be farther from the truth. I talk to her or text her very infrequently. I don't delve into deep philosophical conversations with her because I honestly don't get along with her. Our personalities clash, but I'm adult enough to always be respectful. I wouldn't choose her over anybody I'd spent my life growing up around, but nobody cares to even notice that. They all have this fantastical idea about us being best buddies and having some grand mother/son reunion that just didn't happen.

As for the convicted guy, he was dumb enough to fall for a police sting online, never had the chance to do anything, and spent 5 years in jail. He's never alone with my kids, doesn't touch them, and will suffer a fate worse than he can imagine if he ever did. But he's an example of the type of sacrifice some of the members in our family are willing to make in order to have a relationship with others. Sadly, it's lost on them.

In the end, I'm actually a pretty black and white kind of guy. Right now, I mostly feel bad that this family is what I have to offer my wife and kids. I'm disappointed to the core. I was lied to for more than half of my life, by most of my family. I was kicked out on the street for finding out the truth. I came back to them because I decided I could suck it all up (still being lied to by my parents) for the sake of having some kind of relationship with the family before they're gone. But now, I feel like I've bent so far for them and I'm done. I'll break if I cave anymore. And if I'm broken, I can't be there for my immediate family like they deserve, and I can't be part of something I despise. Seems to me that taking a step back is the only way to come out of this without feeling like I betrayed myself. Just my thoughts.

You could of course be right about everything. I just felt you deserved a bit more insight into the situation.
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Shaun Morris
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
grandmasterstevo wrote:
morris9597 wrote:
I think what you're doing is neither right nor wrong. I think your heart is in the right place but your actions aren't going to achieve what you hope.

You contend that you don't want to be involved in their drama and so are excluding yourself in order to avoid that drama. The thing is, by doing so you are involving yourself in the drama. Unless there are multiple parties being hosted and you're being forced to choose which party to attend, then you are not involving yourself in the drama by attending the party. Simply attend the parties being thrown by those excluded as well as those doing the excluding and you'll be making a clear statement that you have no part in their squabbles.

There are however, two caveats that I would add. If you're close to your mom (it's not immediately clear how close you and your mom have become over the years) then you should skip any party where she's not invited as a show of support for your mother. Second, I would not bring my children (if I had any) around any party that had a convicted pedophile in attendance.

The real question though is, how bad do you want to be a part of your family's lives? Is it worth potentially permanently severing ties with at least some of your family over your cause? Because based on what you've told us, that's potentially what's at stake. So you need to ask yourself just how far you're willing to take this. If you aren't prepared to see it through, then there's no sense in taking it further unless you're playing a bluff.



he deal is that there is only one party ever thrown for each occasion (typically). I was accused of taking the side of the offender by not going, punishing those that do go, but I see it as the exact opposite. By going, I'm punishing the offender, who did nothing to me, and am allowing the offended to punish me by not allowing me to spend the holidays with my entire family. Why should they get to decide who I see based on their own personal squabbles? So as not to take sides, I remove myself entirely. The unfortunate part is that this case involves my birth-mother, and nobody in the family can see past that. Everyone thinks she's "corrupting" me or stealing me away from the family or riding in like she did nothing wrong after all these years and that her and I have this amazing relationship when things couldn't be farther from the truth. I talk to her or text her very infrequently. I don't delve into deep philosophical conversations with her because I honestly don't get along with her. Our personalities clash, but I'm adult enough to always be respectful. I wouldn't choose her over anybody I'd spent my life growing up around, but nobody cares to even notice that. They all have this fantastical idea about us being best buddies and having some grand mother/son reunion that just didn't happen.

As for the convicted guy, he was dumb enough to fall for a police sting online, never had the chance to do anything, and spent 5 years in jail. He's never alone with my kids, doesn't touch them, and will suffer a fate worse than he can imagine if he ever did. But he's an example of the type of sacrifice some of the members in our family are willing to make in order to have a relationship with others. Sadly, it's lost on them.

In the end, I'm actually a pretty black and white kind of guy. Right now, I mostly feel bad that this family is what I have to offer my wife and kids. I'm disappointed to the core. I was lied to for more than half of my life, by most of my family. I was kicked out on the street for finding out the truth. I came back to them because I decided I could suck it all up (still being lied to by my parents) for the sake of having some kind of relationship with the family before they're gone. But now, I feel like I've bent so far for them and I'm done. I'll break if I cave anymore. And if I'm broken, I can't be there for my immediate family like they deserve, and I can't be part of something I despise. Seems to me that taking a step back is the only way to come out of this without feeling like I betrayed myself. Just my thoughts.

You could of course be right about everything. I just felt you deserved a bit more insight into the situation.


Based on that, I'd say you've absolutely made the right decision.
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Andy Leber
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.


Hmm. Yeah, I'm of a bit of a different mind, OP. My thoughts on family, and inclusiveness in general (ignoring any drama specifics) are as follows.

In my mind, call me cold, but family schmamily. Life is too short to be around people who don't enrich my life. The older I've gotten, the more I hold to that. I don't care if you're an aunt, a cousin, whatever... If I have no use for you, then that's the end of it.

So what I'm getting at is that I don't agree with the idea that a certain person in your family doesn't have the right to host any type of event. Or that if they do, they don't get to have any control over the guest list. You are well within your rights to exclude yourself, for any reason at all, and I'd also hope they don't hold it against you though.

But blood alone doesn't mean much to me, to be honest. A close, lifetime friend can be as good and important as any family member. A family member can be as unfulfilling (or even toxic!) relationship-wise as a stranger.

Of course, if there's a reason everyone IS gathered together, it should not be hard to get along, be civil, and even find a way to enjoy yourself. There's nothing I hate more than immature, petty spats, where you can't even fake it for an evening. But if I feel like having a dinner party for people I love, I don't feel the need to force inviting everyone who might be offended otherwise.
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Steve W
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
Holmes108 wrote:


Hmm. Yeah, I'm of a bit of a different mind, OP. My thoughts on family, and inclusiveness in general (ignoring any drama specifics) are as follows.

In my mind, call me cold, but family schmamily. Life is too short to be around people who don't enrich my life. The older I've gotten, the more I hold to that. I don't care if you're an aunt, a cousin, whatever... If I have no use for you, then that's the end of it.

So what I'm getting at is that I don't agree with the idea that a certain person in your family doesn't have the right to host any type of event. Or that if they do, they don't get to have any control over the guest list. You are well within your rights to exclude yourself, for any reason at all, and I'd also hope they don't hold it against you though.

But blood alone doesn't mean much to me, to be honest. A close, lifetime friend can be as good and important as any family member. A family member can be as unfulfilling (or even toxic!) relationship-wise as a stranger.

Of course, if there's a reason everyone IS gathered together, it should not be hard to get along, be civil, and even find a way to enjoy yourself. There's nothing I hate more than immature, petty spats, where you can't even fake it for an evening. But if I feel like having a dinner party for people I love, I don't feel the need to force inviting everyone who might be offended otherwise.


I'm of a similar mindset. My friends are closer to me than my family. They make more effort to be part of my life, and I do the same in return. There's something gratifying in knowing that there is no obligation for them to be around me, and yet they do so of their own choice. Blood = heriditary issues. The rest is your own choosing.

I don't want to seem like I'm holding holidays hostage or using my family as a bargaining chip though. The conversation where I laid out my rules of engagement was a very civil (for the most part) one. There were no threats, just a plea to leave me and my family out of the drama. I even acknowledged everyone's right to exclude people or not go, but was preparing everyone as to why they wouldn't be seeing me in those situations. I guess that could easily come across as a threat. It wasn't intended but I acknowledge that's how it may have inevitably been taken. I still visit my folks with the kiddos in tow. I still talk to my aunt on the phone and visit and she helps babysit from time to time. I still hang out with my cousins every week at a standing Friday night hangout. I haven't cut people out of my life, I just don't put forth much effort to see those that put forth no effort to see me.

One of the most memorable pieces of advice I got from the counselor was that cutting someone out of your life that adds no value to it is a HEALTHY thing to do, very similar to your advice. I still feel bad for my kids though, but I will have no problems explaining the truth to them and letting them make form their own opinions on the matter (says the still-new dad).
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Andy Leber
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
grandmasterstevo wrote:
.... I still feel bad for my kids though, but I will have no problems explaining the truth to them and letting them make form their own opinions on the matter (says the still-new dad).


Yeah, that always adds an extra element to things. I have a 6 year old myself, so I sympathize.
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Kyle
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
They aren't worth your breath, just move on without them and have a better life.
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
So one of the biggest issues I'd been having with the family in general was that, despite me finding out about my adoption, my parents/grandparents continued to lie to me about it. Everyone else eventually saw the futility in keeping up the charade after it was obvious I knew. Yesterday, after work, I decided it was time to end all that. It's been 16 years since I found out; I'm long past all the anger. It ended up being a 3 hour conversation, very adult but strangely lighthearted as I think it went so much smoother than they had been dreading all these years because I already knew just about everything they were going to tell me.

I think a lot of the issues stem from this secret; a lot of people are offended for other people because of perceived wrongs they felt were done. My hope is that with this now public knowledge, it'll pull the rug out from under so many old grudges and force the family to really contemplate why they are all so upset. If anyone got to be mad, surely it was me, and if I can get over it all, they can too.
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Re: So My Family Hates Me *AKA* The Moral High Road Is A Lonely Place.
grandmasterstevo wrote:
So one of the biggest issues I'd been having with the family in general was that, despite me finding out about my adoption, my parents/grandparents continued to lie to me about it. Everyone else eventually saw the futility in keeping up the charade after it was obvious I knew. Yesterday, after work, I decided it was time to end all that. It's been 16 years since I found out; I'm long past all the anger. It ended up being a 3 hour conversation, very adult but strangely lighthearted as I think it went so much smoother than they had been dreading all these years because I already knew just about everything they were going to tell me.

I think a lot of the issues stem from this secret; a lot of people are offended for other people because of perceived wrongs they felt were done. My hope is that with this now public knowledge, it'll pull the rug out from under so many old grudges and force the family to really contemplate why they are all so upset. If anyone got to be mad, surely it was me, and if I can get over it all, they can too.


Good for you - its the thing that bothered me most in your post. Your grandparents lied to you but they did raise you for 18 years. Thats commitment that for me trumps the stupid decision not to be straight with you from the start. Apart from that your 'glee' sorry that's how it comes over at keeping your kids away from your family seems to show that you arent much different from them in your logic. Family cant be chosen you just have to live with them - I certainly accept more from family than from friends but then I listen more to friends than family.
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At 51 I decided not to have anything to do with my mother. Yeah I'm a slow learner. I was the last of her three children and two husbands to decide enough was enough. My baby sister, who's way smarter then me, cut her ties 15 years ago.

I now realise how much I stressed, every day, about my mothers manipulation, general mistrust and constant hatred of everything. So emotionally exhausting.

Seriously, families are not so sacred as so many people will have you believe.

If it works out moving on is the right thing for your current family, do so. If nothing else, it will demonstrate to your children that private peace is every souls right. Something I wish I'd learned years ago.
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antiussentiment wrote:
At 51 I decided not to have anything to do with my mother. Yeah I'm a slow learner. I was the last of her three children and two husbands to decide enough was enough. My baby sister, who's way smarter then me, cut her ties 15 years ago.

I now realise how much I stressed, every day, about my mothers manipulation, general mistrust and constant hatred of everything. So emotionally exhausting.

Seriously, families are not so sacred as so many people will have you believe.

If it works out moving on is the right thing for your current family, do so. If nothing else, it will demonstrate to your children that private peace is every souls right. Something I wish I'd learned years ago.


I'm sorry your family had to go thru that. I've known my fair share of toxic parents and never understood how a person could be like that towards their own children. Now that I'm a parent, I definitely don't understand it. But it sounds like you and your family made the right choice, despite it not being easy for everyone. I'd like to say that she'll figure it out, but that usually isn't the case and gives false hope.

Family really shouldn't mean anything more than the fact that you're related to the person. It doesn't oblige them to treat you better than any random stranger on the face of the planet and doesn't tie you to them or force you to allow them to drag you down in their spiral of unhappiness. I think being able to see that was a very valuable tool the counselor gave me.
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Mark O'Reilly
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I think we all have to cut our own path in life. Family can be very important and worthwhile if they are good, close and supportive. Often family are the opposite and a source of antagonistic nonsense, grudges and sometimes hate.

If family is not working, you owe it to yourself and immediate family (wife/lover kids) to exclude them from the nonsense of the extended family and surround yourselves with people who actually care and matter.

To the op, Steve. I think it is tragic that you are now estranged from your grandparents, who brought you up as their own child, that is a pretty selfless and commendable act.
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Steve W
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biffta wrote:
I think we all have to cut our own path in life. Family can be very important and worthwhile if they are good, close and supportive. Often family are the opposite and a source of antagonistic nonsense, grudges and sometimes hate.

If family is not working, you owe it to yourself and immediate family (wife/lover kids) to exclude them from the nonsense of the extended family and surround yourselves with people who actually care and matter.

To the op, Steve. I think it is tragic that you are now estranged from your grandparents, who brought you up as their own child, that is a pretty selfless and commendable act.


Mark, actually I posted an update a few posts above yours addressing that very thing

Things had been strained between them and myself since they kicked me out of the house when I found out I was adopted. I stumbled across an old photo album with a pic and everything fell into place. When I brought it up, disaster ensued. After that, I spent a couple of years being angry at the world but especially my entire family that had perpetuated the lie. I made the effort to be civil and social again with them when I decided that having some relationship was better than having no relationship. Since then I got married, have had 2 kids, moved twice, but I always maintained the bare minimum requirements of a relationship. I was always there when needed. I just couldn't go thru the motions any more than that. Yes, I was grateful for what they did, but to have them lie to my face every time I saw them was frustrating and emotionally draining, especially because EVERYONE in the family knew that I knew the truth and have known for 16 years and had to deal with it all mostly on my own.

After finally sitting down with them and having "that talk", I feel differently towards them. Might even go visit them this weekend if the kids get over their current colds. It really is great that the big secret is out and I'm curious how the rest of the family is going to react to it. It was also great to finally, after 16 years, be able to properly thank them for giving me a better life than I would have otherwise had. They gave up their relaxing years to raise a mistake nobody wanted in the first place, and because of it I have this life and my kids. Wouldn't trade that for the world. Plus, it makes for an interesting story, almost as interesting as the time I had to choke out a raccoon...
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andrew
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The whole "they raised you so you owe them" line you hear so frequently is really a bit worn.
The fact is, that people have children because they want them. In some respects children are actually a gift to their parents. But a gift that has responsibilities. Responsibilities that are more than just keeping you alive. Food and clothing is fine and all, but that's really only the easy bit.
I think it's wrong to hang the "you owe them" guilt trip on people. Especially if they feel their parents barely fulfilled the responsibility those parents asked for way back when.
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Neil Carr
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I'm not sure this is really advice, but rather context.

I've worked with at-risk populations for decades now and what you're describing isn't all that different from the backgrounds of clients I've worked with.

One factor that could be at play in the family dynamics is some kind of trauma perpetrated within the extended family. People having grudges over what seems like small petty things might be like an iceberg, with far more troubling issues that are hidden away below the surface.

You should cope and adapt in whatever way you see as healthy for you and your family. I'm just highlighting the above that the secrecy and grudges might be ways others in the family are trying to cope with some really heavy stuff. Are those approaches clinically ideal? They might not be, but trauma can cast a very long shadow over someone's life.
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Gary Heidenreich
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You have to do what you feel is best for you and your immediate family.

That's it.

Not saying it will be easier but it will be better.

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